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Arteta unconcerned by Arsenal’s Champions League last-16 record

Mikel Arteta says he is unconcerned by Arsenal’s Champions League last-16 record as the Gunners face FC Porto in the first knockout round this evening.

Arsenal are competing in the Champions League for the first time in seven years this season and will be looking to end a wretched recent record at this stage of the competition against Porto.


Before their recent absence from the competition, the north Londoners exited the Champions League in each of their last seven campaigns at the last-16 stage and have failed to reach the quarter-finals since 2009/10.

However, Arteta admits that record counts for little given no members of the current squad formed part of that run.

“Yeah, and someone called Messi as well was another obstacle that we faced and Bayern Munich as well – this competition is where it is, individual quality,” Arteta said at his pre-match press conference on Arsenal’s record number of last-16 exits.


“It’s extremely important because sometimes it comes down to details, you are through or you are out, and you have to be really prepared and you need your players at their best when the occasion arises, and tomorrow, for sure, we’re going to need that.”

Asked whether he had spoken to the squad regarding Arsenal’s record at this stage, Arteta added: “No, I haven’t had any conversations related to that. They know that we haven’t been in the competition for seven years, obviously, because some of them were here and they know the story, and they know that what happened in the past is irrelevant, and the challenge and ambition that we have now to go through and deserve to be through.”

Arsenal have made an impressive start to their Champions League return and topped their group in comfortable fashion. Arteta believes his inexperienced team are ‘learning’ about the demands of Europe’s elite competition this season.


“Learning like every day in the job when you don’t have the experience, try to use all the people’s experiences, make sure you feel your gut as well because that’s really important, make sure you prepare well and work hard, and make sure that you’ve done all the bits that you need to do to make the right calls and the right decisions, and then have a feeling how the team is feeling and what the team believes that is needed to be in the best place to win a match, nothing different to any other big match that we’ve played in our domestic competitions.”

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Read – Arteta says Arsenal dreaming of Champions League success

See more – Remembering Arsenal’s seven straight Champions League last-16 exits

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